Ren & Stimpy: The Complete First and Second Seasons Uncut

Ren & Stimpy: The Complete First and Second Seasons Uncut
With everything that ever appeared on television now available on DVD, The Ren & Stimpy Show is one rare example of a program that truly deserves to be immortalised. First, because Canadian John Kricfalusi's classic cat and dog combo have never been available with Simpsons-like frequency, owning this isn't as redundant as purchasing Friends, which is on five times a day. Second, because Kricfalusi's reclamation of the rights to his show — after losing them to Nickelodeon when he was fired during the second season — means that episodes appear uncut, the way they were originally intended. But most importantly, this was one of the most innovative animated programs of the past 20 years. Using the wackiness and expressive animation of the early Bob Clampett Looney Tunes episodes and the innocence of '50s sitcoms, paired with select moments of juvenile gross-out humour, The Ren & Stimpy Show paved the way for some of the more clever cartoons currently on television. For those who missed the early 1990s and all of the repeats, Ren Höek and Stimpson J. Cat are a Chihuahua and a fat cat, respectively, who live together in an ambiguous way (in the featurette, Kricfalusi says he's been asked if they're gay numerous times and his answer is, "I don't know whether they're gay or not. That's their business"). Ren is always angry and Stimpy, well Stimpy is just stupid and therefore always in a state of moronic bliss. The situations are surreal and often crass, which got the creators into frequent trouble at Nickelodeon, but almost every episode on this set is a classic. Episodes such as "Untamed World," for example, where the pair are nature show hosts visiting the Galapagos Islands and find a number of hilarious animals that oddly resemble Ren and Stimpy. The most memorable is Crocostimpy, a doe-eyed crocodile whose mating call is a robotic "happy, happy, joy, joy." The best part about Ren and Stimpy finally being available on DVD is the special features. The banned "Man's Best Friend" is here, featuring a scene where Ren beats a man named George Liquor to a pulp with an oar. But he likes it so it's okay. Also, the featurette and episode commentaries allow Kricfalusi and others to talk about where ideas came from and the difficulties of dealing with the people at Nickelodeon. It's enlightening. Like most mad capped cartoons, Ren and Stimpy hit each other over the head, they chase each other around and they get injured beyond repair in one scene and are okay again in the next. But unlike the majority of kids' shows, they're unpredictable. All they ask is that you watch the show wearing unwashed lederhosen and make under leg noises during the good parts. (Paramount)